People Exonerated of Crimes Work Together With Victims to Heal

 Posted on March 28,2024 in Criminal Defense

Hartford, CT criminal defense lawyerOn movies and TV shows that depict crimes and criminal trials, victims are often portrayed as brave people who stand up to their attackers and fight for justice. Unfortunately, in real life, many of these victims are victimized further by a justice system that takes advantage of them, fails to identify the perpetrators of their crimes, and imprisons innocent people. While criminal justice advocates are fighting back against unjust practices by law enforcement and taking steps to exonerate people who did not commit crimes for which they were convicted, some victims are also reaching out to exonerees and working together to heal.

Sadly, there are far too many cases where the wrong people are identified as criminal suspects and falsely convicted. While some of these people have taken steps to prove their innocence, often through DNA evidence, they may lose years or decades of their lives serving prison sentences for crimes they did not commit. This illustrates the importance of working with an experienced attorney during a criminal case to defend against false accusations. A skilled legal advocate can help address unreliable witness testimony and other forms of faulty evidence to help prevent a conviction, and they can fight to ensure that a person’s rights will be protected at all times.

Healing Justice Works to Address the Harm Suffered by Exonerees and Victims

As was recently reported by 60 Minutes, a woman who was the victim of a crime and incorrectly identified an innocent man, leading to his wrongful conviction, is working to address the harm done to people involved in these types of cases. In 1984, Jennifer Thompson was sexually assaulted, and while working with police officers, she identified a man she believed was the perpetrator. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, but DNA evidence later proved that he was innocent, and he was released after serving 11 years in prison.

While some believe that Ms. Thompson and other victims in similar situations are at fault for wrongfully accusing innocent people, she has noted that these victims simply want justice. It is the criminal justice system that has wronged the people who were wrongfully convicted. In fact, each wrongful conviction causes harm to many people. The person who is wrongfully accused of a crime and sent to prison experiences a great deal of trauma, and their family members are also affected. The victim does not receive justice and is blamed for ruining someone else’s life. The community as a whole is put at risk, since the actual perpetrator of the crime remains free and may commit additional crimes. 

The blame should be placed on police officers, prosecutors, and other officials who fail to follow the correct procedures or engage in misconduct when investigating crimes and prosecuting the accused. As they seek to close cases quickly, police officers will often identify a suspect who they believe fits the profile of the offender, without considering other possibilities. They may use abusive interrogation tactics to coerce false confessions. At the same time, prosecutors may withhold exonerating evidence in order to ensure that a person can be convicted. These tactics have led to far too many wrongful convictions, and thousands of people have been exonerated after serving years in prison for crimes they did not commit.

While victims often can do little to correct these practices, they may still be able to heal from the trauma they have suffered while working to help those who have been exonerated. Ms. Thompson’s organization, Healing Justice, works to bring together exonerees and victims who falsely identified people who were wrongfully convicted, giving them the opportunity to understand each other’s perspectives and heal from the trauma they have experienced. This can provide some measure of closure, but more work still needs to be done to address the underlying causes of this trauma and prevent these types of wrongful convictions from happening in the future.

Contact Our Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyer

At Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we know the difficulties that defendants face when they are wrongfully accused of crimes, and we are dedicated to protecting the rights of those who face criminal charges. Our Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney provides representation in multiple types of criminal cases, working to help prevent wrongful convictions. To get the defense you need, contact us at 860-290-8690 and schedule a free consultation today.

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